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Ever notice what happens when you walk past a piano? Or see a guitar sitting idly nearby? Most of us, whether we know how to play or not, feel the impulse to plunk our fingers down on a few keys or mindlessly strum a few strings. But if you’ve ever tried to elicit anything resembling melody from an instrument that you didn’t know how to play, only to give up in frustration, Dave Park has a revolutionary idea for you.

Dave Park speaking at TEDxSacramento2013. To watch his talk, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Dave Park speaking at TEDxSacramento2013. To watch his talk, scroll to the bottom of this post.

A 15-year music industry veteran, Park uses technology to give music fans who aren’t musicians the power to play, recognizing what he describes as a “simple problem of interface, when people who love music, can’t play it.” Drawing inspiration from the barcode on a Cracker Jack box, Park decided to explore and develop a “common denominator for music,” one that would bridge the gap between artists and fans. The key, he says, is to codify, or reduce to code, the compositional information in music.

Park compares the potential power of this approach, known as algorithmic composition, to the impact that word doc technology has had on language and communication. “Think how word doc technology changed the world,” Park said. “It turned us from a world of readers into a world of writers.” Now Park wants to give all of us, regardless of our access to music education or the availability of traditional instruments, the ability to actualize the music we feel in our hearts and hear in our heads. Changing us from a world of music listeners, to a world of music makers.

Five of Dave Parks' favorite things about music 

Why is Park so passionate about this idea? Five quotes from his engaging TEDxSacramento2013 talk help explain:

  1. “Few things in this world connect us and affect us more than music.”
  2. “Music is the soundtrack to all the great moments of our lives.”
  3. “Music has the magical ability to communicate feelings and ideas in ways that are more clear than words alone.”
  4. “Music is inherently interactive.”
  5. “When the music plays, our bodies move…it’s involuntary, part of the human response mechanism.”

Park is visibly and audibly excited over the possibility of how programming and technology could give future generations of children the chance to fully experience music interactively, “with a choice to hear or be heard.”  By their enthusiastic applause at the conclusion of his talk, TEDxSacramento attendees harmoniously conveyed that this compelling vision was music to their ears.

About Dave Park, TEDxSacramento speaker

Dave Park is the CEO of Recombinant Inc, a music technology company developing interactive environments that put the fan in the band. He has become a tireless advocate for developing new systems and technologies to help bring artists and fans together. Dave is a 15-year music industry veteran of artist management, talent acquisition, and music publishing. He was an early champion of Korn and Papa Roach. Dave managed and signed the Grammy Award-winning group Deftones, an American alternative metal band from Sacramento.